An innovative long stay hub for senior citizens who wish to escape the harsh winters of the western world and live in a mild tropical climate with fresh air, has been created by German-Sri Lankan Project Management Consortium in Nattandiya.
While giving due consideration to the salubrious climatic conditions that Sri Lanka can offer to global senior citizens of 65 years and above, this innovative home project will offer a kind of preventive and a curative therapy for several illnesses linked to their advanced age.
Chairman of the Consortium Dr. Dietmar Doering, describing the basic infrastructure of the project said that it comprises 10 cabanas, a huge tropical garden, a 25-metre swimming pool, an indoor stadium for badminton and table tennis and a restaurant in the middle of a 2.5 acre bloc of land surrounded by paddy fields.
Dr. Doering explained that the idea of starting , a residence scheme in Sri Lanka, for seniors from Germany in particular and those from the West in general, is an outcome of his personal knowledge of the situation that a large majority of seniors in European countries are placed in.
“For example, at present, a sizable segment of Germany’s population – over 20 million, is above 65 years of age and many of them have to depend on the services of care homes in Germany due to their inability to look after themselves. Besides, many seniors from the West, domiciled in Sri Lanka, will find this residence scheme a blessing,” observed Dr. Doering.
In addition he said that the average costs per month for a German senior in a care home in Germany added up to around 3.000 Euros which in SL currency was about Rs. 520,000, a cost too high for the average German citizen to afford.
This German–Sri Lanka Consortium with long years of experience in the hospitality sector, is now expanding its portfolio with their first near-completed Senior Residences.
Since food is one of the most important factors, especially for elderly people and those with special needs, Consortium’s Chairman Dr. Doering has recruited a qualified food nutritionist from Germany,
He further said that it was a well-established fact that a healthy diet was a significant factor contributing to the increase in life expectancy. In Japan, for example, average life expectancy has increased to 93 years due to a healthy diet which is close to the classical Mediterranean diet. Sri Lanka’s typical rice and curry form of diet that can be recommended as a healthy diet to Europeans, he added.
Sri Lanka with its scenic beauty, a favourable climate and friendly people, makes an ideal hub for pensioners from Europe and other countries for long stays, and could become a ground reality soon thanks to relaxed immigration laws designed to attract more foreigners to spend their holidays in Sri Lanka, Dr. Doering said.
“Sri Lanka’s relatively low living costs offer a substantial monetary advantage for foreign pensioners, who are used to spending over Rs. 500,000 per month for staying in an elders’ care home with limited choices for using their leisure,” Dr. Doering pointed out.
“Given that most general tourism strategies here are focused on short stays, from seven to 21 days on an average, the concept of promoting Sri Lanka for affluent EU pensioners should be a quite welcome proposition for the tourism authorities in Sri Lanka,” Dr. Doering added.
According to Dr. Doering the first batch of 45 senior citizens – all from Germany, will take up residence in the Nattandiya ‘Senioren Residence’ in July next year and some 67-strong qualified local staff will be placed at the beck and call of the guests while three staff members from Germany will be there to handle the coordination and operational logistics. Apart from a fully equipped medical centre with Sri Lankan medical consultants on call duty round the clock, there will be a physiotherapy clinic manned by physiotherapists trained in the traditional ayurveda therapy developed over several thousands of years.
“Of course, there are many other items on our agenda to make our foreign guests feel that Sri Lanka is truly their second home,” added Dr. Doering.